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Spy of the First Person by Sam Shepard

Spy of the First Person

by Sam Shepard

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594295,655 (3.5)8



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A strange, rambling work in the first person, but it seems to be several persons, only it is hard to be sure because the speaker is never identified. It contains no story, no plot, no character development, and appears to be the disjointed thoughts of someone who is in the last stages of his life. If that sounds horrible, well, it wasn't. But it wasn't great, either. I suspect this is the sort of book many people will think they have to see as genius because they don't understand it. I didn't understand it either, but I think because there really isn't anything there to understand. A quick read. ( )
  Devil_llama | Jan 23, 2019 |
Could not get into it ( )
  kakadoo202 | May 10, 2018 |

The death of Sam Shepard creates a sudden void in the landscape of contemporary literature. This talented writer, dramatist, horseman, actor, and musician leaves as his final gift to those of us fortunate to have known his body of work a thinly veiled memoir of the first rank. In prose reminiscent at times of his good friend Patti Smith, Shepard eventually recounts the last of his precious days on earth surrounded by his loving family and friends. In one poignant sentence Shepard affirms that in a span of one year he went from being a fiercely independent and private wanderer traveling in his pickup truck to a man in a wheelchair who can barely raise his head and cannot possibly wipe his own ass. There is nothing sentimental or self-serving in this book. Shepard’s honesty on the page remains as seething as his life. A testament to one great artist, and for some, a very good friend. ( )
  MSarki | Jan 7, 2018 |
A man who was extremely talented, incredibly versatile. With these his last words in print, an unnamed narrator takes us through some of his history, things he has seen and thought. His diagnosis, and the way his body betrays him. Wheelchair bound, needing help to do the simplest things, things he could once do easily, he ponders his current situation, and things from the past.

This sounds sad I know, but somehow while it was it slso wasn't. The tone is melancholy for sure, but the writing is gorgeous. I think maybe he had made peace with his life, his condition, looking on it as an observer. Anyway that is the sense I received while reading. He will be missed, in the many different roles he played in his life. My reading his last thoughts was the only tribute I could give to this wonderful man, and the enjoyment he had provided many throughout the years.

ARC from Edelweiss. ( )
1 vote Beamis12 | Dec 7, 2017 |
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In searing, beautiful prose, Sam Shepard's extraordinary narrative leaps off the page with its immediacy and power. It tells in a brilliant braid of voices the story of an unnamed narrator who traces, before our rapt eyes, his memories of work, adventure, and travel as he undergoes medical tests and treatments for a condition that is rendering him more and more dependent on the loved ones who are caring for him. The narrator's memories and preoccupations often echo those of our current moment--for here are stories of immigration and community, inclusion and exclusion, suspicion and trust. But at the book's core, and his, is family--his relationships with those he loved, and with the natural world around him. Vivid, haunting, and deeply moving, Spy of the First Person takes us from the sculpted gardens of a renowned clinic in Arizona to the blue waters surrounding Alcatraz, from a New Mexico border town to a condemned building on New York City's Avenue C. It is an unflinching expression of the vulnerabilities that make us human--and an unbound celebration of family and life.… (more)

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